If your new TV is younger than your Nintendo Wii game console, you might need a special adapter or converter in order to allow it to connect to something like a smart TV. Meanwhile, a smart TV is a special kind of TV that allows Internet connectivity and support of a wide range of streaming apps to allow you to do things like watch Netflix or YouTube on the comfort of your own home using the TV itself without no assistance from a computer or streaming device like Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick.
In short, a smart TV, unlike an ordinary TV, has Internet and computer-like capabilities of running certain applications related to online streaming and some such. In regards to how to connect Wii to Smart TV, here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Smart TV?
A smart TV is the “smart” version of a TV the same way a smartphone is the “smart” version of a cellular phone. While a TV only receives signals from antenna, satellite, or cable box to deliver programs and channels for your viewing pleasure, a smart TV has extended features similar to the smartphone that involves Internet connectivity. An ordinary terrestrial TV with antenna can, at most, receive signals for viewing through its antenna, cable, or another A/V source.
- A Wider Array of Viewing Options: A standard-definition TV was perfectly fine in the 1990s and prior when you only had TV viewing options or perhaps a VCR you can connect to your TV in order to play VHS tapes you’ve rented from Blockbuster. However, today’s connected world is more Internet-centric. You need smart TVs and smartphones that can link to the Internet and provide you with entertainment through that medium, especially if you have a Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon Prime subscription.
- Smart TV Is Part of the Smart Home Device Line: Smart TVs are part of the smart home device line like the Amazon button you can push to instantly order Amazon products or smartphones that can double as music devices, cameras, video players and so forth though online functionality and connectivity. Smart TV can run apps like the smartphone, tablet, or any computer out there. In this case, the smartness of the TV can also refer to it is as versatile as a PC. In turn, this opens you up to a whole new world of options of entertainment, from online streaming to better game functionality since game consoles are also “smart” and Internet-connected as well.
- The Internet Makes Ordinary TVs Smart TVs: Internet connectivity and apps that take advantage of such is what makes an ordinary device like a cellular phone or a television set become a smart device. This widens your ability to entertain yourself because the Internet serves as a vast repository of games, videos, music, and so forth accessible through affordable subscriptions and whatnot. This also allows your smart TV to easily link up to gadgets such as smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets, which is certainly the case for the Apple TV and its wireless connection to Apple-related or iOS devices.
With that in mind, how do you connect the Nintendo Wii console—a game console that actually has Internet connectivity in and of itself, thus making it a smart device in its own right—to a smart TV? Should you use the Internet or should you use standard TV ports for audio-video connections instead?
The Wii Doesn’t Have the Right TV Port
Some smart TVs should be able to connect to the Wii normally through an A/V port. However, connecting it the way an Apple TV connects to an iPad or iPhone wirelessly might be a bridge too far to traverse. The Wii came out in the late 2000s, around the time HDMI wasn’t as ubiquitous (it was released in 2002) and online multiplayer gaming was more linked to PC gaming. In fact, DisplayPort was just released in the same year as the Wii in 2006, so HD gaming was at its infancy stages. Smartphones like the iPhone would also be released the following year in 2007.
- Most HDTVs Are Smart TVs: Smart TVs were originally just CRTs, LCDs, or plasma TVs with an Internet connection and the ability to play streaming apps. As people moved on from the cathode-ray tube or “boob tube” TVs of yesteryear to the more sleek and modern HDTV with high-definition resolution. As the 2000s and 2010s rolled along, this smart TV tech became as commonplace among HDTVs as their HDMI connection ports. This tech is therefore almost synonymous with HDTVs even though there are certain HDTVs that lack Internet connectivity or require streaming service assistance from Roku hardware.
- The Wii’s Big Gimmick Is Mostly Motion Controls: Instead of HD graphics or doubling as a Blu-Ray Player, the Wii’s main gimmick that allowed it to become the best-selling home console of its generation and the second best-selling console next to the PlayStation 2 is the fact that it has motion controls. All other aspects of it are SD-era tech, down to its non-HDMI ports and its 480p max resolution you can “upscale” to 1080p but it’s not true 1080p. Regardless, depending on the ports of your smart TV, there are several methods to go about connecting it, which should help you pick the right HDMI converter or standard AV cable for it.
- HDMI versus Other A/V Ports Like Component Video: You can’t connect your Wii to your new smart TV if it has HDMI. You need a converter or adapter in order to make it work. Luckily, many circa 2000s smart TVs have component video ports available, so you can connect your Wii through that route without having to get any adapters or converters involved. Also, watch out which converter or adapter you buy. As a rule of thumb, if an adapter doesn’t work a converter might work instead. There’s no need to sacrifice your progress in Super Mario Galaxy or buy a Wii-U in order to use your Wii with a smart TV.
- The Cables You Can Use to Connect Your Wii to a TV: For a console that belongs in the same generation as the Sony PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, it’s very much a product of the tail end of the 1990s more than a product of the 2000s. Aside from the state-of-the-art motion controls, Wii graphics and resolution are pretty much in the standard definition or SD age rather than the high definition or HD age we’re currently living in in the 2010s and 2020s. Ergo, instead of HDMI, the Wii instead uses standard A/V ports for VGA, RGB, and component video. To link it to HDMI cables and ports to HDTVs and smart TVs, you need a special adapter.
- What Sort of Ports Does Your Smart TV Have? Your smart TV should have ports like HDMI and component. If it’s an older version of the smart TV, you can end up dealing with ports such as VGA, SCART, S-Video or S-video, and RGB or RCA. These are legacy inputs for older TVs made from the 1970s to the 1990s, but some early smart TVs have ports like SCART and S-video despite being supposedly high-tech enough to have Internet connectivity and application functionality. Also take note that whichever solution you use, the Wii’s maximum resolution output will remain 480p.
- Legacy Outputs versus The Current Standard: You’re in luck if your smart TV has legacy inputs because it’d see that 2006’s Nintendo Wii is all about those other outputs that don’t require adapters such as component video, VGA, SCART, S-Video or S-video, and RGB or RCA. The Wii has those outputs because those TV types are still in existence in the late 2000s. It’s not unusual for even HDTV smart TVs to at least have an A/V or VGA output. SCART is an output popular in places like Europe and was also in use around the same era, including for the first smart TV releases.
- To Adapt or To Convert: The rule of thumb in the debate of adapter versus converter is that try out the adapter first to see if it works then go to the converter route. A converter is more expensive because it converts a dissimilar signal to another signal, in this case, an analog 480p Wii signal upscaled to 720p or 1080p for a typical “smart” HDTV. An adapter just makes your non-dissimilar signal available to another output, like in the case of a component video signal converted to HDMI.
Smart TVs and HDTVs are gaining more integrated smart home features available to them that allow them to connect wireless to any device that’s also online-enabled. However, this isn’t the case with the Nintendo Wii even though it has online features and multiplayer of its own. The Wii isn’t “smart” enough to interface with a smart TV wirelessly unless you were to hook it up with a component-to-wireless-HDMI converter and transducer.
For one thing, Nintendo propriety products will only connect to other approved Nintendo products via the Internet the same way an Apple TV will only connect to iOS mobile devices and Macintosh PCs. For another, your most common options for smart HDVTs are component video cables if available or component to HDMI or A/V to HDMI converters. Ironically, the online services that make a TV smart can’t be used to connect to a Wii.
- “How do I hook my Wii up to my new Samsung Smart TV that has no RCA ports“, Tom’s Guide, August 28, 2017
- Brian Westover, John R. Quain, “Smart TVs: Everything you need to know“, Tom’s Guide, April 2, 2020
- Christian Cawley, “6 Ways to Connect Your Nintendo Wii to Any Type of TV“, MakeUseOf.com, April 16, 2020
- “Gana Wii to HDMI Converter“, Amazon.com, Retrieved April 21, 2020